Happiest new year to everyone! Hope you are staying warm and happy and healthy and are ready to enjoy everything 2014 brings…. I have some pretty big ventures planned this year so I sure am :]
It’s always something I look forward to after travelling: returning to my kitchen and to my comfort food. Comfort food – often synonymous with indulgence food – for me is actually the healthy, nutritious, veggie-full meals we eat in our house*. It’s comforting because it satisfies both mind and body, and I crave it when I’m away from it for too long. Traveling in a country like Colombia, where green vegetables are not (at all) the forefront of the cuisine and I’ve eaten one-too-many deep fried empanadas ….makes me long for the salads, stews, curries, fritattas, stir frys, and all other veggie-centered dishes that are a regular at home.
*don’t get me wrong, ‘comfort food’ to me also means all things chocolate ;)
I also return home inspired by the many foods I’ve sampled, techniques I’ve observed, new spices and textures and flavors I’ve discovered. So I’m off the plane and anxious to cook, whether it’s Colombian arepas or a comforting veggie-ful lentil curry.
Here’s a little bite of the food in my life since I came home… just a little detox from empanadas, fried plantains, queso, queso, and more queso.
Quinoa falafels with tahini sauce via Sprouted Kitchen, & fresh carrot-mango-orange-ginger juice
I-could-eat-this-every-day Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry via Pinch of Yum, over kale with toasted naan
My sister’s sourdough boules… maybe ate a little too much of this, but who can resist warm, crusty, chewy, fresh baked bread?!
And in lieu of store-bought Easter candy, we made homemade vegan butterfingers, which blew us all away with their spot on texture and peanut buttery goodness.
This fall weather has me craving warm, comforting dishes, as you saw when I posted this kale sauté. Trying out new dishes only has me craving more, so I wanted to share a few ideas I’ve tried for quick, warm meals. I made polenta for the first time about a week ago and have fallen in love. It’s so comforting and tastes great with everything! Just add some cooked veggies or top with stew or chili for a wonderful cozy meal…..
The basic polenta recipe I’ve been using and find to work well is this:
½ cup polenta / yellow corn grits
2 cups vegetable broth
¼ t salt
1 T olive oil
Bring vegetable broth and salt to a boil in a pot. Add oil. Lower heat to simmer. Add the polenta in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Whisk for about 5 minutes, until polenta is thickened. Keeping heat low, cover and let cook for 20 more minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
*I halved the recipe I found, so feel free to use 1 cup polenta and double the other ingredients for a larger batch.
Now you’ve got soft, creamy polenta to use as a base for anything! The vegetable broth is definitely what makes it so flavorful. I have yet to let the polenta firm up and bake or sauté it, but I can imagine it’s just as yummy.
Here (above) I had a hearty brunch of polenta, eggs scrambled with peppers, onions and kale, pico de gallo and feta cheese. I know it’s hard to see the polenta with all the yummy stuff on top!
And here I made a super simple lentil chili which I served over leftover polenta. I used this WholeFoods recipe for the chili and added some leafy kale.